jane: i have a headache and my stomach is upset. what could be wrong?
doctor: you may have a bug going around, or maybe it’s just the flu. here are some pills for your headaches. take one every six hours as needed. also, there is some ibuprofen in that bottle if you need it to help with your nausea and stomach ache. call me later if any of those side effects don’t go away by tomorrow morning at this time we can make another appointment; otherwise we will see you again on wednesday morning at nine thirty eastern standard time (9:30 am)
Doctor John Watson, M.D., was not an especially good doctor; he liked to talk about “the balance of evidence,” but his own record reflected exactly none; he would arrive late without calling ahead and then give up halfway through the exam because his patient was too ill or agitated to pay attention anyway—a general pattern that drifted into place over many years until eventually even Sherlock Holmes had begun to lose patience with him and had begun referring patients elsewhere whenever possible. It wasn’t clear whether Dr Watson knew this himself or simply took such behavior as part of being ‘an old-fashioned country doctor who didn’t know how things work nowadays,’ which was fairly typical among doctors everywhere these days thanks largely to television dramas like ER where they all seemed far more interested in bedside manner than saving lives—